Monday, April 23, 2012


I spend a lot of time talking about why (and how) people should be doing LSD. After all, it has done worlds of good for many people (including myself). However, I do NOT advocate the use of LSD for EVERYONE. Many acid-heads get excited about the creation of an acid utopia inspired by their own psychedelic experiences, but taking LSD is a risk that some people just should not take. If you belong to any of the groups listed, you should think very carefully before you use any psychedelic substance.

  • People with a tendency toward mental illness. People with a history of, or a genetic predisposition towards, schizophrenia can be triggered by hallucinogens and may not recover in a timely manner-- or ever. These are the horror stories you hear about "permanent bad trips:" in almost every case the patient has a history of certain kinds of mental illness. Other, more common, mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression, can also be made worse by the use of LSD, as it puts you in a fragile mental state that may exacerbate these conditions. This is not to say that those with anxiety and depression should not EVER use psychedelics; in fact, LSD use often helps me with my own depression. Just be prepared for the possibility.
  • People on SSRI antidepressants. SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) and LSD work the same way, by blocking the neurochemical serotonin from getting used and recycled. Unfortunately, having too much serotonin active and bouncing around in your system can cause Serotonin Syndrome, which is potentially life-threatening and has symptoms like headaches, confusion, shivering, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, twitching, tachycardia, and coma. Since another symptom of Serotonin Syndrome is hallucinations, you might not know what is happening to you until it is too late. Please do not take this risk with any hallucinogen.
  • People who do not feel comfortable using psychedelics. I'm sure you've heard the old adage for preparation: set and setting. One must make sure that their external "setting" and environment are good for a trip, but they must also make sure that their mindset is positive. If you are much more nervous about tripping than you are excited, then don't rush it. You will always have another opportunity if and when you feel more confident. It's like a roller coaster: it will always be a little scary, but it certainly shouldn't be terrifying.
  • People who don't know they're taking a drug. Sometimes people get really enthusiastic about an experience that they have had and want to share it with others who might be wary or even negative about psychedelics, so they decide to make it a "surprise." This is a violation of someone's personal freedom of choice, which I never advocate, and can also very easily cause a bad trip. If someone doesn't know that they've taken a drug, the effects thereof can be really frightening and might make them think they've gone insane. Not good. Or, even worse, some people will attempt to use psychedelics to take advantage of others sexually. This is EXTREMELY wrong, for many obvious reasons, and is not something anyone should do to another human being. Ever.
  • People who just don't really want to. If you don't think that psychedelics would be your thing, then whatever. I do not think that everyone should do psychedelics, just that those who do want to should have the freedom to do so. Whatever you choose is the right choice for you.
And of course, Timothy Leary has summed it up best: "Acid is not for every brain .... Only the healthy, happy, wholesome, handsome, hopeful, humorous, high-velocity should seek these experiences. This elitism is totally self-determined. Unless you are self-confident, self-directed, self-selected, please abstain. "